Updated January 26, 2022 - 7:47 am
Authorities are trying to determine who shot a mule in the head over the weekend at a popular trail riding business in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Mike Flood, general manager of Cowboy Trail Rides, said the killing of the mule, named June, was discovered Saturday at the business off state Route 159. It is one of four suspicious incidents over the past month.
A healthy 3-year-old horse named Mouse was also found dead in a horse pen about three weeks ago, although it is not clear what caused Mouse’s demise. At the time, the proprietors of Cowboy Trail Rides did not suspect foul play.
“We don’t know if there is someone who hates horses and doesn’t want them out there or it is just a crazy person who doesn’t like horses,” Flood said. “I know you’ve got to be a sick individual to kill horses.”
Flood said the suspicious activity was reported to the Bureau of Land Management and the Metropolitan Police Department. A spokesman for the BLM, John Asselin, said the agency is conducting a joint investigation with Metro, but there are few details to release so far. Metro did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the matter.
“The (BLM) rangers are leading the investigation as we are in rural country and we are on public lands,” Flood said. “Metro has been doing everything they can to help us. Everybody has been doing a great job.”
Flood said the suspicious activity started about four weeks ago when employees showed up at work and found dozens of the approximately 50 horses and mules at the business running loose in the desert.
“We had our whole herd of horses turned out,” Flood said. “Somebody was hoping I guess that they would get away. You’d have to do some work to turn them out.”
Flood said someone used a tool to pry open a locked gate containing the horses. A week later, Mouse was found dead. The week after that, someone had opened a smaller pen and let several other horses and mules out. Then, June was shot.
“A 10-year-old mule that was in good health,” Flood said. “It turns out she had a bullet in her head. … They’ve avoided all our security cameras.”
Details of the shooting of June have gone viral on social media, prompting outrage.
“I can’t believe someone would target the cowboy Trailrides horses!” Holly Nicole wrote on Facebook.
Poster Barbara Heard wrote, “Good Lord! What’s wrong with people,” after learning of June’s death.